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Milwaukee County Prepares For Buses At Full Capacity, Helps Recruit Paid Vaccine Advocates

Milwaukee County bus
Chuck Quirmbach
/
WUWM
Milwaukee County buses return to full capacity Thursday, but passengers and drivers must still wear a mask.

The city and county of Milwaukee are promoting an effort to pay people to become advocates for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Also, county buses are going back to full capacity on Thursday.

Regarding paid vaccine advocates, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said the city and county are working with a local consulting firm, Jump At the Sun, that supports grassroots COVID outreach.

"And this is a paid opportunity. COVID mobilizers can earn up to $2,000. Interested individuals can attend a paid training session this Wednesday, June 30 at 3 p.m.. So, if you want more information, go to jumpatthesunllc.com to register." Crowley said during a news briefing Tuesday.

Community mobilizers will be asked to do door to door canvassing and to be available for special events. They'll be teamed with a Milwaukee Health Department vaccinator.

Crowley said the program is open to people aged 16 and older.

WUWM asked Crowley if federal money is helping pay for the outreach program and if local governments are having trouble finding enough volunteer vaccine ambassadors.

He answered this way: "So, the dollars we are giving to support this effort are coming from the CARES Act dollars we received, as well as from some of our philanthropic partners. But as it relates to people working on this, I think we always need as many partners, workers, employees to support keeping this community healthy. We are always going to use these opportunities to promote job opportunities, whether we're talking about with the vaccinations, or with buses, parks or our airport."

And about buses — for those operated by the Milwaukee County Transit System, Crowley said starting Thursday, July 1, COVID-related passenger capacity limits will be lifted for the first time since April of last year. But he said drivers and passengers are still requited to wear masks, as is the case on other public transportation in the U.S.

"Regardless of your vaccination status. This is a federal mandate, which means it supersedes any state or local mask policies out there. So, please help out our bus drivers and your fellow passengers by wearing a mask while you're on board the bus. If you forget yours, free masks will be available on every bus," he said.

The change comes as most local COVID-19 measurements continue to show health concerns are fading. But Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
warned that last week, the city had dropped to the low transmission category of the virus per 100,000 in population, a gating measurement the city calls the disease burden.

"As of today, we have seen a slight increase to 11.2 cases per 100,000, which brings us back up to the moderate transmission category. I was hoping I would never say that again, that we're back to the moderate transmission category. So, we have some work to do," Barrett said.

Health officials said part of that work is getting more people vaccinated, especially with the presence of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

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